Talia Castellano, 12, was diagnosed five years ago on Valentine's day with stage 4 neuroblastoma. But she is not letting cancer ruin her spirits.
In a society where people seem to be defined by their looks, Castellano said in a video posted on YouTube that after she learned about her diagnosis, her reaction was: "You don't think like 'Oh my God, I'm going to die. It's more like, I'm going to lose my hair. I'm going to be skinny.'"
During her childhood, Castellano endured rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants, and radiation. But this strong young girl has proven that beauty comes in all forms. She chooses not to wear wigs after losing all of her hair, and her slogan is "Makeup is my wig."
She has used YouTube as a way to inspire other women who may be going through the daunting circumstances she is facing. Castellano has her own channel, which she uses to post mini-makeup tutorials and words of inspiration and has 60,000 subscribers. She is an internet sensation.
She says that makeup allows her to embrace the features that she really likes about herself.
In one of her videos, she said in a joking manner, that "if someone is looking at me they're looking at my makeup. They're not looking at my bald head."
Neuroblastoma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a malignant cancer that develops from nerve tissue and affects 1 out of 100,000 children.
Earlier this week, on her YouTube channel, Castellano also revealed that she has developed another type of cancer.
"I have preleukemia in my bone marrow" she told her viewers. Preleukemia, is now known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). MDS is a condition where stem cells in bone marrow do not mature into healthy blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"There's nothing really out there that treats both type of cancers," she went on to say, as both are very aggressive and spread quickly throughout the body. She now has to decide if she wants to do a bone marrow transplant, in which her diseased bone marrow would be destroyed and healthy marrow would be infused into her blood-stream, or live out the time she has remaining.
Currently, she is leaning towards not having the transplant, as the chances of surviving "are fewer than surviving" she explained, plus there is the complication of not finding a match for her bone marrow or finding a match and then having her body still reject the bone marrow. "Everyone asks me if I'm scared. I'm definitely scared," she admitted.
If she does not go through with the transplant, doctors told her she can live for four months to a year.
"This is not fair to me anymore...No one should have to do this," Castellano said. In the meantime, Castellano is excited to turn 13 later this month, and plans to tape the celebrations and show her YouTube viewers.
Watch the video here: http://youtu.be/1slESfh_3M0
Amethyst Tate graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology. During her time at IBT, her articles have been sourced by various...